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Alexandria, Home of the Ptolemies

Capital Cities

What: Capital City of Egypt during the Ptolemaic Era of Ancient Egypt. Alexandria is currently the largest City on the Mediterranean Sea

Where: North Coast of Egypt

When: Founded in 331BC and remained the capital city until 641AD when the Muslims conquered Egypt and moved the Capital to Fustat, now incorporated into Cairo

Who: Founded by Alexander the Great and ruled by General Ptolemy who later announced himself Pharaoh Ptolemy I and moved his Capital City to Alexandria

Roman Alexandria

Beginnings of Alexandria

332BC: City is founded by Alexander who saw the potential for 2 harbours for trade is a causeway could. Be built to the island of Pharos from the mainland. Chief architect, Dinocrates, is appointed to plan Alexandria as a replacement for Naucratis as the Hellenistic centre in Egypt. The previous Town of Ra-Kotis is swallowed up into the development but remains as the naturalised Egyptian centre of the city

320BC: Alexandria becomes the Capital City of Egypt

305BC: Ptolemy takes over as Pharaoh and founds the Ptolemaic Dynasty. He brings stature to Egypt by seizing Alexander’s corpse and burying this in a Golden Coffin in Alexandria. Alexandria now becomes the centre of trade between Alexander’s conquered world and the remainder of Europe within 50 years

283BC: The “Seat of the Muses”, better known as the Royal Library of Alexandria, was founded by Pharaoh Ptolemy, allegedly being modelled after the Aristotle’s Lyceum in Athens. This is where Euclid teaches his geometrical theorems and mathematics here and may well have taught Archimedes who in turn, returns home to teach and study geometry. Pharaoh Ptolemy dies and is succeeded by his son, Pharaoh Ptolemy II

280BC: Pharaoh Ptolemy’s planned Lighthouse is erected by Ptolemy II

220BC: Eratosthenes works out the Circumference of the Earth and works on a map of the stars

From 220BC onwards: Divisions form between the Egyptian, Greek and Jewish populations

144-116BC: Pharaoh Ptolemy VIII rules but has to contend with civil disobedience merging into civil warfare and he performs purges of the population

80BC: Alexandria is now swallowed by Roman and is under their jurisdiction

51BC: Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII succeeds to the throne of Egypt with his older sister Cleopatra VII. By 47BC the two siblings and spouses are engaged in a Civil War

The Lighthouse

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and served as a location and navigational aid to mariners

Alexander's Tomb

One of the Outstanding Mysteries left to unravel in Egypt’s long Ancient History. Buried in Memphis and then reinterred, but where?

Cleopatra’s Demise

How did Cleopatra become the last Pharaoh of Egypt?


The Underwater World of Pharaoh Cleopatra’s Royal Palace and its surrounding support buildings and infrastructure, including the Pharos Lighthouse and shipwrecks


The Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, a series of Tombs of the former residents of Alexandria. Particularly considered as unique due to the mix of arts, religions and culture


How Boats in Alexandria ended up 3km inland from an underwater Earthquake from the other side of the Mediterranean Sea

Taposiris Magna

A city established by Pharaoh Ptolemy II of which the Temple of Osiris is now of focal interest as the suspected resting place of Cleopatra 

The Library

The “Seat of the Muses” or Museon, better known as the Royal Library of Alexandria, the most famous Ancient Library in the World. Allegedly being modelled after the Aristotle’s Lyceum in Athens and may have held up to 750,000 scrolls

Later History

Siege of Alexandria in Julius Caesar’s Civil War


Battle of Alexandria during the final war with the Romans


Siege of Alexandria in the Byzantine-Persia Wars

Siege of Alexandria in the Rashidun conquest


Alexandrian Crusade which led to the sack of the city


Battle and Siege of Alexandria in the Napoleonic Wars

Expedition of Alexandria in the Napoleonic Wars


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